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      to the woman who threw herself
      and her three children off the 14th story roof
      by Halsted

      so awful you had to dress the three kids
      in the early morning and make the long climb
      up the stairs.
      the two year old chewing gum
      the twins, boy and girl, fighting over the headless
      tail-less bear
      you in jeans and maroon sweatshirt and slippers
      crying, frightened but
      determined having prayed to God and hearing him say:
      come on up, there is no abusive husband here
      there is no mother on crack here
      there is a river of milk for the children to drink.
      sitters who
      will read to the children and teach them joy and
      A pretty dress and lipstick for you.
      God said, do not be afraid; it is easy,

      like: close your eyes,

      then you will be loved and caressed
      all four of you will laugh together
      for the first of many times.
      God says in a sweet voice, soothing tones
      trust me, all the pain will be gone
      and you will dwell in my bosom
      in sunshine and warmth.

      © Copyright 1997, Halsted. All Rights Reserved.

      Read Thomas Hood's, The Bridge of Sighs, reprinted in this issue, for an intriguing 19th century parallel to Halsted's poem. --jsg

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